From course design, creating communities, and SEO to analytics, and the checkout experience, you can change every aspect of your LearnDash website using ‘Plugins’.
In fact, it’s ONE of the reasons why people choose LearnDash in the first place.
The advantage that comes with using a combination of plugins helps in achieving a perfect learning environment. And they are not that heavy on the pocket. A majority of them are ‘Free’.
And most people are inclined towards using free LearnDash plugins because — Well, they are free and they get the job done.
BUT. It doesn’t mean they don’t have issues.
So in this article, we’re going to discuss exactly what they are and why you should consider using premium LearnDash LMS extensions over free ones.
So, Let’s begin.
4 Reasons why free LearnDash LMS plugins are not enough
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio via Pexels
1. Short on functions
Free plugins are ideal for people who are just starting out and are craving basic functionality to hit the ground running.
Plugins that are managed by external LearnDash partners offer minimal design and a few must-have features for your learning management system. These 3rd-parties reserve most features for the paid version.
So if your business or side hustle requires a more professional look, then you will be limited by the features offered by free plugins.
For example – Design Upgrade, a free plugin by Escape Creative allows you to make design changes to your LearnDash website like making your course pages and lesson visually impressive. The free version lets you redesign 30 different aspects of your LearnDash website including buttons, font sizes, and animations, among other things. But the PRO version gives you 90 different customization options. Hence, more features to play with.
2. Generic Features — Nothing ‘Unique’
Since free plugins can help you achieve functionality that meets industry standards, they have over a million downloads. So a lot of websites end up having the same features, look, and feel.
And since there aren’t many customizations available, there’s not much you can do with the standard features.
Therefore you end up compromising on the vision you have for your website to stand out.
3. Sketchy post-purchase support and hardly any updates
There’s often no support for a free LearnDash plugin right from the developer.
So for help, you have to turn to support from communities like WordPress Forums, Facebook Groups, Youtube tutorials, Reddit threads, etc.
And since you’re not paying someone to help you. There’s no guarantee that you’ll get a fast reply.
Additionally, companies developing free plugins reserve most of the updates for the paid version. Therefore, free add-ons receive fewer updates and can result in vulnerabilities in security and therefore performance.
4. Security is a matter in question
One of the most significant drawbacks of using free plugins is that they can make your website vulnerable to hacking and security threats.
That’s because free plugins are not updated as often as premium plugins. And an updated plugin includes several bug fixes and security features. So there’s always a risk involved in using a free extension.
So what can you do?
It sounds heavy, I know. But, it’s worth it in the long run!
To give you more context, here are some ways premium plugins can help you.
Benefits of using premium LearnDash LMS add-ons
As opposed to using free LearnDash LMS plugins, there are several advantages of using premium LearnDash plugins:
- Increased Quality — Since these LearnDash plugins are paid, there’s no doubt that they are high in quality and performance. In addition to giving your site the edge, they also.
- More features and customizability — With premium plugins you get advanced functions that are not available in the free version.
- Paid themes and design plugins can give your website a unique look — Since premium plugins come with more features. They can give your website a unique look.
- Increased Security — Plugin development companies roll out frequent updates full of maintenance and security features as well as multiple bug fixes. So your site remains safe and compatible with the latest version of LearnDash
- Dedicated Support Team — Premium plugins also come with 24/7 customer support. You can reach out to the team via their preferred email.
Recommended: If you’re new, download this guide to know how much essential plugins can cost to kickstart a basic LearnDash website.
If your business depends on your e-learning website then a premium LearnDash plugin or a service is a bargain!
Since using free plugins has limitations (as discussed above) you might end up spending more money in case a free plugin/theme breaks.
You’ll have to reach out to a LearnDash partner to fix your website which may cause your site to go down and eventually affect your learning program.
That’s why, it’s always advisable to use premium LearnDash add-ons to get the best results, make your website stand out, and avoid potential threats.
And in case even the premium features can’t help you, you can always get a custom plugin or a feature designed for your specific needs.
What do I need premium LearnDash LMS plugins for?
Besides the core LearnDash features, you need premium add-ons for — a social forum, automating tasks, group registration, multiple course authors, a review and feedback system, memberships, marketing, and of course a good-looking theme.
How much can essential LearnDash LMS plugins/ themes cost?
A great-looking LearnDash theme or essential LearnDash plugins can cost you anywhere around $100/yr. To get an idea, check out LEAP — LearnDash Essential Add-ons Pack.
Where can I find all LearnDash LMS add-ons?
To find all add-ons managed by 3rd parties, go here.
Can I get custom features if needed?
Yes, most LearnDash partners offer LearnDash Customization Services for specific requirements.
Is there a demo available for all paid LearnDash LMS add-ons?
For most premium plugins, a demo is available.